- Associated Press - Saturday, March 4, 2017

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Ballerinas and boxers are mixing it up in St. Paul in an unlikely alliance of strength and endurance conditioning.

Four boxers have been dancing with the St. Paul Ballet in “To Billy,” a performance about a boxer who wants to become a ballet dancer, Minnesota Public Radio (https://bit.ly/2lEeAw8) reported.

The partnership began after the St. Paul Ballet moved into a new studio next door to the Element Boxing Gym three years ago.

“And it just became like, ‘Hmm, what are they doing over there?’” Zoe Henrot, the ballet’s artistic director, recalled. “We are both movers, and so movement is what makes us curious.”

Henrot realized the boxers’ strength and endurance conditioning could benefit her dancers and asked Element’s owner and trainer, Dalton Outlaw, if they could take some lessons. He said yes - as long as the boxers could take some ballet classes.

“Some of the guys, they are still on the mindset, ‘This is what I’m used to doing,’” Outlaw said. “I make sure they get over there and they enjoy their class, and then they get the best out of it.”

The show opened Friday at the Cowles Center in downtown Minneapolis.

The group also has been awarded a grant for a show in June, when Henrot and Outlaw will serve as joint directors. Henrot said it will begin with a dance performance, involving many boxers, and then end with some matches.

Outlaw and Henrot said they hope the partnership will become a multidisciplinary movement center, where all kinds of artists and athletes will explore, collaborate and create.

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Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, https://www.mprnews.org


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